Saturday, August 30, 2008

March Against Poverty Runs Through Cauca

On Thursday, August 28th, about 300 homeless residents of Popayan, the capital of Cauca, began a national march to call attention to the crisis of poverty in Colombia. Spearheaded by the organiztaion Destechados, a social movement of homeless activists of Central Cauca, the march reached Santander de Quilichao, the main city of the northern part of the department, on Friday.

On Friday night, they were greeted by the Tejido de Comunicacion of ACIN, the Association of Indigenous Councils of Northern Cauca. The tejido treated them to one of their now famous video forums, where they present documentary films about a wide range of issues in communties throughout the region and lead discussions with the audience. On Thursday night, they presented the documentary "We Are Rising Up with our Staffs of Authority," a 30-minute depiction of the clash at "La Maria" in 2006, where government forces broke up a gathering of over 20,000 indigenous activists who were carrying out the "Liberation of Mother Earth Campaign."

Needless to say, the homeless marchers from Popayan were overwhelmed by the video, and expressed their appreciation to the ACIN for demonstaring solidarity with their cause. It was yet another example of the important role the tejido de comunicacion of ACIN is playing in not only using media - radio, video, the internet - as a tool for social change, but also in bringing different sectors together in northern Cauca who are struggling along similar issues.

The marchers are now leaving for Cali this morning, and later for Palmira, as they head north for a culminating forum of social organizations that will take place in Bogota, the capital, on September 12 and 13th.

I'll have more on my brief visit to Cauca this week a bit later.

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